Saturday, November 27, 2004

Go, Fight, Hell, Texas, Yeah

Bizaro World this week on The Index, two rivalrly games that, as tutorro put it to clooney, don't make no sense.


70: Louisville point total.
15: Louisville passing attempts. Read that again.

83: Points scored in 2003 Louisville-Cincinnati rivalry game.
3: Louisville winning margin, 2003.
77: Points scored in 2004 game.
63: Louisville winning margin, 2004.

16: Minutes remaining in 2004 game when Louisville took a 63-0 lead.
47: Minutes remaining in the game when Louisville starting QB Stephen Lafors took his last snap, replaced for the remainer of the game by freshman QB Brian Boehm.
: Minutes remaining when Cincinnati achieved 100 yards in total offense (2 yds/min).
3: Blocked punts for Louisville.

55: Minimum points scored by Louisville in each of last five games.

Texas-Texas A&M

61: Words in “Texas Fight” (UT fight song)
25: Lyrics accounted for by “Texas” and “Fight”
51: Percent of “Texas Fight” lyrics accounted for by five words (in order of frequency)– Go, Fight, Hell, Texas, Yeah.

88: Yards Texas drove against A&M's defense twice.

1: A&M yard line both 88-yard drives reached.

2: Tds scored on next play.

0: Total point advantage for Texas resulting from both drives.

99.9: Yards in A&M fumble return to take lead with 30 seconds left in first half.

1: A&M yard line Texas was on when Texas QB Vince Young inexplicably attempted to - what's the word? Lay up? Palm? - the ball over the stack of linemen on the goalline. He was stuffed by A&M's line but decided to extend the ball - like a one-handed lay-up - over the stack in an attempt to break the plane. Instead, it was easily knocked from his hand, bounced down the line of scrimmage and was picked up by A&M LB Justin Warren, who ran unchallenged the length of the field for the go ahead TD.

From a 7-point deficit on their own 1-yard line to a returned fumble and 7-point lead in one snap.

All with less than 30 seconds to halftime.

And the key question is: what was Young thinking?

2: Rank of that play among "Weird Plays in That Endzone."

1: Points in safety credited to Texas in 3rd quarter on the new "World Champion Weirdest Football Play I've Ever Seen."

Texas lined up for a PAT and missed (the 4th consecutive missed kick in the game). The snapper fumbled it, which caused the kicker to boot the unset ball directly into the line (at this point, by one reading of the rules, the play should have been dead, but like the Carpenters, we've only just begun). At this point, according to the referees (but lost to TV replays), an A&M player caught/picked up the ball and tried to return it (which is very legal, and if the defense can return such a fumble to the opposite endzone, they get two points, a possibility which- tangentialy - produced the previous Grand Champion Wierdest Football Play I Ever Saw prior to this one when Furman beat Applachian State by 1 point after just such a play). But whoever the A&M guy was who got the ball, he then fumbled it, and it dribbled into the endzone, where another A&M player jumped on it. Now, in football talk: A&M (1) gained possession (after the kick), then was (2) tackled with possession in the endzone - which is actually the definition of a safety (and if you think about it, the whole play is a close cousin to the always-hilarious moment when a kick returner takes the kickoff in the endzone, brings it out a step or two and then thinks better of it and steps back into the endzone thinking he's getting a touchback, only- wait for it! - the ball is still live since he brought it out so he gets drilled by the coverage for a safety. Ha ha). So that should have been 2 points for Texas... but wasn't. As ABC finally posted in the last minutes of the game, there is a rule tucked away in the NCAA football rule book that says that a safety on an extra point attempt is worth only 1 point.

All of which ignores the central idea that Texas missed its extra-point attempt, while all A&M did was chase down a loose ball- and Texas still got a point out of the deal.

And consider: in a real safety, if the team being tackled didn't have the ball, it would be a touchdown for the other team, right? Obviously not the case here, since UT would not have been awarded a TD had they recovered the ball. So, WTF?

13: Winning margin for Texas, thank goodness, which makes it moot.

147: Rushing yards for Cedric Benson, every inch of which came the hard way. I've not been a regular observer of Cedric for his career, and every game I've ever seen seemed to follow this sequence: (1) Cedric gets stacked up 5 times at the line (unimpressive) then (2) peels off a run up the sideline untouched (impressive but only in the 'he's fast' sense).
Benson was tougher than rent against A&M. He had a fourth down - fourth down - pickup early in the game that let you know A&M might as well pack it in right there. He took a quick pass over the middle, 4 yards short of the 1st down, spun out of one tackled, planted his arm on the ground for balance, popped back up to see 3 defenders between him and the must-have yardline and proceeded to run directly into all three, carrying them all a yard past the line. Ol' Cedric, who scored 5 Tds in the Ok State comeback, can play.

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